Hyundai Design Chief SangYup Lee on the Company’s Design Future

20 many years back, Hyundai was regarded for bland, cheap A-to-B transportation. It would have been challenging to picture that the business would ever make a reputation for inventive and stylish automobiles. But with bold types like the 2023 Palisade and the retro-futuristic Ioniq 5, Hyundai has now become a style and design leader. We spoke with Hyundai’s style and design main, SangYup Lee, at the New York auto present and he gave us insight into the company’s present-day and foreseeable future style philosophy.


Hyundai has proven its eye-catching fashion with substantial grilles that dominate the faces of its gas-driven types. Whilst some of these grilles, like the gaping maws on the Sonata and Santa Fe, have built the autos glimpse like hungry catfish, Hyundai hit a residence run with the armor-like grilles on its 2022 Tucson and Santa Cruz. Both products disguise the daytime managing lights as component of the grille—which Hyundai phone calls the “concealed jewel” design—and Lee claimed favourable suggestions on the Tucson prompted the grille design to distribute to the 2023 Palisade. “This is a very special characteristic so we want to seriously capitalize and make a statement,” he spelled out.

2023 hyundai palisade

The 2023 Palisade.

Michael SimariAutomobile and Driver

At the very same time, Hyundai has managed to build a sharp and easily identifiable EV lineup without relying on the identical structure component. “In the EV era, the grille is no extended necessary,” Lee explained. “Obtaining a conventional ICE factor have to future, that is likely not the appropriate go.” In its place, Lee claims “the gentle signature is additional crucial than the grille shape,” and 1 appear at the Ioniq 5 displays that’s the circumstance. The 5 was the debut for the pixel graphic, which will spread across the Ioniq lineup and offers off an ’80s movie video game vibe when continue to looking refreshing and futuristic. We’ve previously noticed the pixels show up on the Prophecy idea, which previews the forthcoming Ioniq 6, and the 7 thought, which will grow to be the Ioniq 7 in 2024. “None of them have a grille, but the consistency is the pixel lamp,” Lee explained. “When you see pixel lamp, it can be a Hyundai.” When other automakers—namely BMW, Mercedes, and Audi—have incorporated phony grilles on their EVs, Hyundai will not as very long as Lee is in demand.

hyundai ioniq seven concept

The 7 idea.


Just before doing the job at Hyundai, Lee built for Basic Motors and the Volkswagen Group, penning amazing vehicles like the 2006 Camaro notion. Although Lee savored his time at people producers, he claimed performing at Hyundai has been a breath of clean air. “Bentley’s legacy is unbelievable,” he stated. “But this fat from the legacy on your shoulders is pretty significant, so when you do the sketch you request, is this Bentley more than enough?

“With Hyundai you have additional freedom,” he claimed, considering that the South Korean model isn’t going to have nearly as preset a style and design lineage. Lee sees his time at Hyundai as an option to generate history: “What you’re undertaking is portion of what will turn out to be the brand name legacy.” Hyundai’s method is also far a lot more shopper concentrated, which Lee likes. “From time to time I expend several hours at the Costco parking large amount, learning how the customer reacts to the auto, how Mother puts her newborn in the back seat, how they load things in the tailgate,” he explained. “That’s the inspiration.”

This flexibility from a layout legacy at Hyundai is improved by lack of constraints when building electric automobiles. Though gasoline car or truck types are restricted by their powertrain and chassis, “the EV skateboard system gives us a great deal far more flexibility.” This will allow for the blurring of traditional automotive segments the Ioniq 5 is a key case in point, its hatchback proportions belying the car’s SUV size and 118.1-inch wheelbase. Lee did make a stressing remark that the foreseeable future “may be all containers with inside room,” but at least for now, Hyundai will go on with the two-box layout, with Lee promising “all of our Ioniq EVs will have the longest wheelbase in the sector.”

These stretched wheelbases open up up plenty of opportunities. Lee stated he had not too long ago been in South Korea and had viewed an Ioniq 5 in an apartment parking ton. “There was a father and a son and they place a small desk behind the front seats and were being learning collectively in the car,” he explained. “Probably they both bought kicked out by Mom,” he joked, but the Ioniq 5 was properly including yet another home to their condominium. “This area revolution is the essential for the EV,” Lee concluded. “How you make use of this space is an open chapter for designers.”

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